[17:00] Another useful day, without doing anything too rash the day before a
holiday. I got in at a sensible time, then forced myself to go straight over to
the remote server room and - amazingly quickly - got four physical servers'
operating systems installed. I came back, did the NIC teaming, and got the
iSCSI stuff set up all well before lunch time. That left me quite a while to
get some other useful things done. Despite being peppered with annoying phone
calls from users I still managed to get even more useful stuff done, patched and
rebooted the Satellite server (potentially a bad idea), and even handed over a
server I'd just installed to one of the other sysadmins to check to see if his
SAN scripts work under iSCSI as well as fibre channel. The afternoon has mainly
been about tidying small things where I can, without messing anything up as much
as possible. I'm determined to get out of here at 17:01.
I'm now off home, from where tomorrow I'll head to Rachel's parents after a run
in the morning, then over the weekend we'll be in Glasgow watching some indoor
athletics, running in what could be horrendous weather on the West Highland Way
(a simple out-and-back for three hours from Milngavie), and then be home again
on Sunday evening. Monday's a speed session on the path by the river, then
Tuesday Rachel and I meet at St. Pancras International to get various trains to
Austria for a few days of cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, saunas, food, and
relaxation. Then home via various other trains, a night in Paris, and the
Eurostar again on the Monday 24th. Tuesday 25th I'm back in the office for an
early start and patching, again. Nearly done though.
First though, a much-needed holiday.
[17:50] For such a poor start (I had a terrible night's sleep), I've had a
fairly amazing day in terms of achievement. I got to work nice and early and
every single one of the servers (physical, virtual) patched and installed their
firmwares without issue (other than a known issue that I was ready for). Then
all the services on them came back up without a hitch (as far as I know given
that two sets of servers were running live/production services, so I left them
to the people running them so as to ensure everything went as it should), then I
got on with a load of other useful stuff until I was sure everything was going
well, then I learned more about iSCSI than I thought possible, and even solved a
problem with my particular setup which wasn't mentioned in the (very helpful!)
documentation I found, and was able to replicate it to two more servers (and
will hopefully replicate it to four more tomorrow), then I wrote a document
about everything I'd done with iSCSI so I remember it when I come back from
vacation (and everyone else knows about it too), then I had a productive meeting
with my team leader, then I went for a track session run at lunch time and even
with high winds managed to do fairly OK at keeping to my times (hint: I didn't
hit them, but I'd have to have been Superman to do so), then I had an afternoon
of building VMs, replying to email, and printing out important things for Rachel
and my trip to Glasgow this weekend. Frankly, there's not much more I could
have done with today.
So I'm going home. Tomorrow I'll be out of the office for at least the whole
morning getting four servers installed. Then I'll come back and do the iSCSI
and other stuff configuration from the comfort of my desk. And then I'll go
home and won't be back in the office until the 25th. I definitely need this
[18:05] Busy weekend, and a busy day, and it's not even Tuesday, which is going
to be really busy. So, the weekend... Rachel was around for much of
it, when she wasn't back in Croydon playing hockey. There was running both
days, although the Sunday run was adjusted as the storm winds meant that I
couldn't do quite what I wanted to in terms of intervals. We'll have to see how
things go tomorrow on the track if the weather's still bad. Otherwise we had
plenty of time together, Rachel did a wonderful amount of cooking and baking,
and we watched a bit of television, too.
This morning she headed back on the train again to London and I got on with
getting into work and then heading over to one of the server rooms to get four
servers installed with operating systems. I nearly had a showstopping issue
with network cards before I vaguely remembered something about an issue I'd had
previously. The solution was to simply unplug all of the DAC cables that I
wasn't using for the install. I'm very glad I remembered! One server though
refused to install because its network interfaces were configured differently.
It's a low-to-no priority server though, so I'll get around to it another time.
Once the other three were installed and I'd cycled back in the rain to my desk
(I picked the one time to go over to the server room without my waterproof, so
got a bit damp on the way back) I got on with configuring them for use. These
are my first dual-connected, multipath-via-iSCSI servers, so I'm feeling my way
somewhat. However, I have some documentation which is sort of applicable, so
I'm hoping to make more progress before the end of tomorrow.
For now though it's late, I'm going home, and I'll see you very early tomorrow
morning for lots of patching of various servers.
[14:10] Rachel arrived last night, earlier than usual, so there was a modicum
more rejoicing than usual. We both got a bit peeved by a few things, but
settled down again fairly quickly, and enjoyed a slightly longer evening
together than we usually get during the week, which was great. What wasn't
great was another poor night's sleep for me. Not as terrible as the last few
nights, but still not great. I had an aching jaw when I got up in the night,
and then for good this morning.
Happily though the cycle to work and the morning's patching went perfectly.
That meant I was able to head over to a server room to configure a few more
servers' lights out management stuff. That, and the fact that Networks have
configured all the ports I need now, means that next week, if I have time, I can
start installing operating systems on some of the 8-9 servers I have waiting for
me. I'm not sure I'll have time to do them all before I go on holiday, but
maybe I can get a few done. Otherwise, I've not done too much else today as
I've been trying to ensure I get to go home early after all the extended working
days I've done this week. I appear to have succeeded, other than attending a
rather frustrating meeting which thankfully ended after an hour. I've had my
lunch, had a quick shower as I didn't have time for one at home this morning,
and now I'm going home to read on the sofa while Rachel works.
This weekend there'll be two runs, food shopping while Rachel's back in London
playing hockey and... whatever else we decide to do.
[17:05] A proper early morning again today. Luckily the last one this week as I
had a rotten night's sleep after 04:00. I alternated between being awake and
being half-dozed in a way which didn't really leave me feeling any more rested.
Still, I managed to get out of bed at 06:30, strip the bedding, get dressed,
breakfast, make lunch, and be out of the house by 06:50. That meant I was in
work in good time and had a pretty much flawless patching cycle. Which was
nice. That left me with a morning to catch up on other things rather than
concerning myself with cleaning up after anything which might have otherwise
I ran at lunch time. It was supposed to be a track session, but when I got
there there were some people in track suits which said EA Sports on the back,
and they were using the full width of the finish straight, so I had to go to the
tarmac foot path next to the track and run my 800m sprintervals there instead.
I don't know if I got the distance exactly right, but it's possible I was
running further than that. That's what I'm choosing to believe in the hopes
that'll mean my intervals which were slower than 2:58 were in fact not slower
than 2:58 after all. Back in the office a whole slew of actual proper work came
in, so I ate lunch around doing some of that. Just as I was about to leave
early, something came in which I had to at least make a start on, so I've ended
up still being here gone 17:00. I'll make it up to myself tomorrow by leaving
soon after lunch, I think. That has the added advantage of my getting to spend
more time with Rachel, who's arriving tonight and working from home tomorrow. I
will have to not bother her while she works, but I think I can manage that.
Although I will be on drink-making duty for her, I hope.
So, one more semi-early morning tomorrow to patch some more servers, and then a
morning of building VMs, I think. Then home just after lunch time. Unless I go
to a server room and set up some lights out management cards for some servers
which just got racked up this afternoon. I might do that. But anyway, home now
to get the house ready for Rachel, and a relaxing evening together, if her
train journey is unproblematic.
[17:35] In semi-early this morning, necessitating a semi-early rise. Everything
went off as it was supposed to, thankfully. Over the course of the morning I
then had to deal with some of the software restart fallout from that. I did
managed to schedule a few more patch/reboot dates for some more servers, and
even got a few more done over lunchtime and this afternoon today. While I was
able to ascertain that a pair of servers weren't doing anywhere near as much as
they used to, and could therefore be rebooted during the day, the one which I'd
converted to a VM, and which therefore should have rebooted the quickest out of
the two turned out to want to fsck its rather large filesystem, and consequently
still hasn't come back even though I started its reboot about three hours ago.
I've decided to stay in the office until it's done. Hopefully within the next
half an hour or so.
I'm in properly early again tomorrow morning. Hopefully the servers being dealt
with will all behave nicely and I'll be able to have a relaxing morning so as to
be able to give a bit more to my track session at lunch time, not to mention
going home early so that I can go to Tesco for dinner and then get the house in
order for Rachel's arrival in the evening.
[18:00] Early start this morning. The first of four (although only this morning
and Thursday morning are truly early). The patching went pretty smoothly, if
I'm honest. Everything happened as it was supposed to, apart from a few things
due to DBA ineptitude which I had to fix. After that though, although I didn't
realise for a few hours, something was epically broken and it wasn't until I'd
done a lot of troubleshooting and been down a few blind alleys that the DBA
responsible for the issue worked out what was wrong and fixed things on his
end. We have a much more resilient solution in place now, but it's still a bit
poor that we didn't check out what he'd done sooner to see if it was a working
change he'd made. After that I had about a third of the morning left to do lots
and lots of other things, which meant that I didn't get out for my run until
around 13:00. A fifty minute run meant that I had to go straight from a rapid
shower into a 14:00 meeting (which I was a few minutes late for) without having
my lunch. This made the next hour a bit frustrating as I really wanted to eat
(and not be in the meeting). Once I escaped, it was an afternoon of trying to
get fiddly things to work, and preparing for tomorrow morning's patching, which
I hope will go at least as well as this morning. It's all one service, and none
of it is proper live stuff, but I won't tempt fate by saying it'll be fine. For
now though I'm off home to eat a sensible dinner and then try not to pig out on
unsensible things like Christmas cake.
[17:30] I spent the weekend at Rachel's where a good time was had by all, I
think. Saturday morning I ran to, around (in the mud) and back from parkrun,
Rachel marshaled and then went to play hockey. In the afternoon there was
relaxation. Sunday morning we went our separate ways to do long runs. Mine was
around Croydon, Rachel's went into central London where she then took a train
home again so she could collect her bike from the train station. In the
afternoon we did a bit of logistics for our holiday, and did more relaxing.
It's very important, this relaxing. When you're running as much as we are, you
have to take downtime seriously. Both of us are still suffering from the tail
ends of our colds so I don't think either of us were at our best. I certainly
didn't feel like I was.
Rachel packed me off with a mega-lunch this morning. My train home was fine, as
was the cycle into work from the station. At work, the most important things I
did today were to go across to one of the server rooms and get four servers
wired up for Network, ILOM, and iSCSI connectivity, as well as configure their
BIOSes. Now I have to wait for Networks to put all the ports on the right VLANs
for me. That could take a few days. I may have to nudge someone. The other
useful thing I did was to get a load more servers scheduled for patching and
rebooting. The downside of that is that I'm now in early or very early every
remaining day this week. Although it does mean I can leave early every day
because of that. I might even get to go home in daylight.
I'm running tomorrow lunch time, so I very much hope tomorrow's patching goes
without any major issues. For now though I'm off home to do grocery shopping
for the week and have a relaxing evening, hopefully.